The NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway last Sunday has been under scrutiny since Martin Truex Jr. called out Denny Hamlin for an early restart on the last lap.

After the race, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer told reporters that Hamlin did not jump the restart. After reviewing the replay several times the day after the race, Sawyer backtracked his statement and admitted Hamlin “no doubt rolled early.”

NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick offered his thoughts on how this type of penalty can be avoided or called in the future, during “Kevin Harvick’s Happy Hour” on April 2.

“If you’re going to paint a line on the track, you should use the line,” Harvick said. “I mean, if your football team steps on the line you’re out of bounds, right? If the ball doesn’t cross the plane is it a touchdown?

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“I think if you’re going to paint a line on the racetrack to officiate a situation … none of us want NASCAR involved in it, but NASCAR wouldn’t even have to be involved … put a speed line there, just like they do on pit road.”

Harvick added that if the speed line is in place with a set limit, the computer can call a penalty if the lead car is running too fast before the restart.

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“I’m all for leaving NASCAR out of it,” Harvick said. “But as a driver, we know that we put them in a really tough position if you go a half a car length before the restart zone at the end of the race.

“Denny Hamlin knew that. He knows that every driver in the field knows that NASCAR doesn’t want to be in the position to have to make that call. In my opinion, take yourself out of that position to make that call. (…) It’s going to police itself at that particular point.”

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NASCAR already has a speed limit for drivers entering pit road, so the same concept could presumably apply to restarts.

Featured image via Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports Images